The Keynote Speaker Sets The Tone For The Event
When seeking a business motivational speaker, it is important to think about all the choices you can face. I recently had a conversation with someone who was very curious about the world of meetings and speakers.
“Do you live in a van down by the river?”
That was the reply when I told the person next to me on an airplane what I do for a living. Yep, I am a speaker.
My seatmate and I laughed about Chris Farley’s famous character Matt Foley from Saturday Night live in the 1990s. While funny, I often think Mr. Farley did as damage to the image of those of us who make a living speaking to audiences. People have long thought many in my profession are fake or phoney, or have no business sharing advice.
Business Motivational Speakers typically do not live in vans. Many of my friends live in nice homes. These leading business educators are not guilty of spinning fluffy sayings or suggestions free of real content. The best speakers weave amazing personal stories to actionable ideas that often inspire change.
The speaker matters
Keynote speakers are an important part of the meetings industry. The business speakers who we see in general sessions at association annual meetings and corporate conferences are highly skilled professionals. Experienced speakers are there to do a job, and most do it very well.
I am sure you have heard it said that public speaking is among one of the most frightening things to most people. Thus we will not replace experienced speakers at live events, because to deliver a great speech takes real skill. People want to be engaged, entertained, and educated when at business events. It is not an easy thing to do, and the fictional Matt Foley did not have the skills necessary to be a real business motivational speaker.
Good Business Speaker or Great Business Speaker?
Many people who speak to groups think they have mastered the art of oratory because of what they hear after they finish their talks. Founders and CEOs of companies think they are great speakers whey they may only be good speakers. This is because after they present the employees tell them “great speech”. But what else can someone tell their boss? (nobody will tell the speaker CEO that their talk was “highly mediocre”). I have often been asked to coach business executives on the presentations skills, and those who are serious about delivering better talks will admit it is very hard to master the craft.
Hiring the right business motivational speaker is the key for associations and companies who want great events. Regardless of if the organization is a small local association or giant fortune 500 companies, the speaker sets the tone for the whole meeting. Therefore selecting speakers is an important task for anyone involved with planning conferences.
I have talked to meeting planners who have been disappointed with bestselling authors and celebrity speakers (although many who fall into these categories are amazing presenters). There is no way to judge if someone will be amazing on stage just because they are smart, famous, or have a lot of social media followers.
Developing Presentation Skills
Speaking well is a learned skill. My advice to anyone seeking a business motivational speaker for their event is to ask those on their short list how many professional level speeches they have given in the last year. Those who have presented five times may not be as experienced as those who spoke fifty times in the same time frame.
Many professional keynote speakers admit that if they have not been on stage in the past month, they can tell that they are rusty when they get up to talk. Therefore if someone has rarely ever given keynotes, you can be assured they may not as eloquent as those who speak all the time.
Of course not all active professional speakers are at the same level either. Speaking is an art form, and much like painting, the end product is open to subjective judgement. You may love the work of Jackson Pollock, while your best friend sees just splashes of color that they believe anyone could have painted. This is why it is important how you review speakers.
How to find the right speaker
My suggestion to how to select a business motivational speaker is to always be looking for options (all year long, not just when it is time to fill the agenda). Keep a file of speakers you have seen in person, or who have been referred to you. Visit their websites and review their videos.
A great way to find the perfect speaker for your event is to ask other professional speakers (either those you have hired for your current event, or ones you have used in the past). Speakers are very clear on who they admire in the business, and they will not give a recommendation unless they are sure the person will deliver a great speech.
Know the speaker’s personality
Once you have a list, make sure you get them on the phone for extensive conversations with every prospective presenter. You learn a lot about the personality of a speaker from the telephone or video chat, and who they are as a personality matters (maybe as much as how good they are on stage).
A speaker who is great on stage, but a jerk to work with, is not a win / win choice. Many planners will tell stories about difficult speakers; While audiences liked their talk, the planner would never hire them again. Having all of your speakers fit in like members of your conference team is very important.
Finally, if you want the speaker to do anything extra (breakout sessions, book signings, stay for meals, etc…), be sure to ask them early in the negotiation. Some speakers are only there to speak and leave and others are excited to engage with your attendees. Neither of these is right or wrong, but you need to know before you hire them based on your expectations. Always tell speakers clearly if you expect more from them than their on stage talk.
Look to Thom Singer as your next speaker
If you are currently seeking a business motivational speaker, Thom Singer would like to be on your short list of those with whom you will consider. Thom has over 10 years working as a professional keynote speaker and master of ceremonies / emcee. He has delivered over 800 speeches in his career, and is dedicated to helping you create a memorable conference attendee experience.
Hosting a sales meeting of sales kick-off? Thom is the sales speaker who will get people to explore their potential and take actions.
Business Motivational Speaker.